As you walk up to the entrance at laV, you know you are entering some place special. The olive trees and lavender lining the sidewalk offer the welcoming signs of Provence, the region in southern France that has inspired both the atmosphere and menu for East Austin's newest restaurant.
Dining at laV, patrons can expect a different experience every time. Want to escape to rural France? Relax on the patio facing a large Provencal garden. Want a quick bite? Sip wine and enjoy a snack in the tasting room or at the bar. Or stay a while and feast on an intimate dinner in the dining area or with a small private party in the wine room.
Even the design elements reflect a blend of the restaurant’s Texas roots and French inspiration, like the white cowhide bar stools at the majestic pewter bar.
The attention to detail is no surprise from the stellar all-female leadership team of Managing Partner and Advanced Sommelier Vilma Mazaite, Executive Chef Allison Jenkins and Executive Pastry Chef Janina O’Leary. The trio draws on its extensive experience to create an atmosphere of rustic elegance, giving a nod to fine dining without losing the casual ease that makes Austin special. Even the design elements reflect a blend of the restaurant’s Texas roots and French inspiration, like the white cowhide bar stools at the majestic pewter bar.
Chef Jenkins’ menu demonstrates her philosophy of letting simple, high quality ingredients speak for themselves and it takes full advantage of the kitchen’s wood-burning oven. Dishes range from the classic roasted chicken to more complex preparations like the mushroom raviolo with an egg yolk center floating in mushroom consommé.
“One of the things I love about the restaurant is that you can customize your experience, enjoying a light meal and a glass of wine in the bar or a leisurely dinner with five or six courses,” says Chef Jenkins. Featuring large entrees like the chicken, whole fish and a 24-ounce steak, the menu invites diners to enjoy convivial plate passing.
The menu element that most excites Chef Jenkins is the cheese cart, featuring seasonal and rotating selections paired with house made crackers and preserves from Chef O’Leary. “Everyone has a cheese plate, but I wanted people to have a more full experience,” says Jenkins. “The cart is usually more of a fine dining element, but I think cheese is something people should eat every day and I wanted to make it accessible.”
The exceptional food from Chefs Jenkins and O’Leary is matched by an extraordinary wine program curated by Mazaite and her team of sommeliers, Darren M. Scott and Rania Zayyat. The wine list offers over 1,200 wines with a focus on French labels, all stored in an awe-inspiring two-story wine room at one end of the dining room.
laV opens Thursday, March 6 at 1501 East 7th Street in East Austin; dinner service Tuesday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.